Paula’s Favorite Places in Paris Off the Beaten Path
By Franki Hanke and Paula Bennett
Paris is full of stunning sightseeing from the Notre Dame catacombs to Montmartre Hill & Sacré Coeur, but the most popular views of the city aren’t the only spots worth seeing. Curated by our well-traveled founder Paula, this list features her favorite, must-see, unique places off the beaten path in Paris.
Sightseeing & Museums Off the Beaten Path in Paris
Hôtel de la Marine
Recently opened to the public, the former royal Garde Meuble is now an immersive museum with the layout and design recreated from the 18th century. To see this period so well-preserved is rare as many royal properties were damaged following the French Revolution.
“It shows us what it was to live like the King of France, and there is no other place where you can actually see that. Not at Versailles, not at the Louvre, or at any other royal building,” said author Jérôme Hanover, as quoted by Galerie.
Buy tickets in advance to ensure your spot.
Paula’s Tip: Don’t skip the headphones on the walking tour! They’re hands-free, and you’ll hear stories for every room in the museum. The stories are lively and engaging, not dry, and they bring the interior scenery to life.
Musée Yves Saint Laurent
Once Yves Saint Laurent’s own office during his life, this beautiful mansion in the 16th arrondissement now showcases his original office and rotating exhibits of fashion artistry. The focus here is primarily on Laurent’s design process rather than history. Even though it’s off the beaten path in Paris, some showings can sell out, so buy tickets in advance especially during peak season.
Paula’s Tip: This is a museum gift shop worth browsing. It’s full of a lovely curation of items.
Musée de Camondo
Featured as the filming location for Lupin, Musée de Camondo sits in front of Parc Monceau. Once the location of the Camondo family home, owner Moise de Camondo commissioned the construction of a museum instead in 1911 to house his own collection. Now, the museum is owned by the state but is protected from lending its work as a memorial to Camondo’s late son.
The museum’s welcoming video tells more of the tragic history of the family and shouldn’t be skipped.
Paula’s Tip: The kitchen and bathrooms are original and reminiscent of Downtown Abbey, don’t overlook these comparatively modern locations.
Musée Jacquemart André
Housing the private collection of Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart to display their personal collection, Musée Jacquemart Andre showcases historic art within a historic home.
Paula’s Tip: Considered the greatest collection of privately held art in Paris, this museum has architecture and interior design stunning enough to rival the artworks.
Currently closed for renovations, Musée Jacquemart Andre is anticipated to re-open September 2024.
Situated on the left bank of the Seine, Musée d’Orsay is an art museum focusing on French work from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. Their collection, particularly of impressionist art, is full of hidden gems.
Paula’s Tip: I visit every time I can, but certain times of year are busier. Try to visit off-peak hours if you’re visiting between May and September when Paris tends to have more tourists visiting.
Dining Off the Beaten Path in Paris
Ladurée Paris Royale
Featuring three gorgeous salons, Ladurée Paris Royale is stunning no matter where you’re seated. The menu is perfect for a light lunch or tea break near the luxury boutique shopping along Rue Saint-Honoré.
Paula’s Tip: While Ladurée is not truly off the beaten path in Paris, there’s more to Ladurée than their macaroons. Go upstairs, join the locals, and enjoy a full lunch. Then, you’ll understand why it’s my favorite spot in Paris.
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While it’s currently being renovated, the Ladurée Paris Royale location is still open for takeaway from the terrace and may be open during your own visit. Check their website before visiting.
After your visit to Hôtel de la Marine, continue to Café Lapérouse nearby. Decorated in homage to French navigator Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse who established his own business in this same building in 1766. He wasn’t there for long as he mysteriously vanished 22 years later.
To design the vision of the interior, they tapped the artistic director of Dior Maison and Baby Dior: Cordélia de Castellane. The result is a stunning, detail-rich space that’s as much a meal for the eyes as your stomach.
Paula’s Tip: You can catch views of the Eiffel Tower from here, so make sure to look!
If you want more spots to eat in Paris, read our Where to Eat in Paris.
Shopping Off the Beaten Path in Paris
Au Bain Marie
There’s more to shop for in Paris than fashion and food. At Au Bain Marie, you’ll shop quirky, decorative tableware including a variety of styles and materials, but leaning towards whimsical, unusual things.
Paula’s Tip: You’d never find tableware like this in the US. It’s a mix of antiques and items that aren’t antique, but look like they are! Shop here for unique, original pieces to bring home.
Parfum Sur Mesure
Only a few doors down from Au Bain Marie, Parfum Sur Mesure is a must-stop if you wear a signature scent or love to experiment with perfumes. Proprietor Stéphanie de Bruijn will create a custom perfume. You’ll tell her scents you like and usually wear before smelling a variety of different scents to create something custom.
Paula’s Tip: I’ve found that usually, a custom perfume here is cheaper than the perfume I’d otherwise buy and is entirely custom to my preferences.
Filled with hand-selected items from across Europe, Stephane Olivier is an antique store. The owner has curated a gorgeous array of chairs, tables, lamps, and other decor from across France and Belgium.
Paula’s Tip: When I find something I love in Stephane’s shop, I use Convelio to ship it home.
Ines de La Fressange
As the only one of its kind, Ines de la Fressange’s store showcases her work. Considered an icon of Parisian style, she started her career as a model, becoming Karl Lagerfeld’s muse and the first model with an exclusive contract with a luxury brand. The pieces in the store are all created in an internal workshop under her supervision.
Paula’s Tip: Even if you rarely shop on a vacation, don’t miss this store. The pieces are always beautiful.
Now you’re ready to find places off the beaten path in Paris! If you’re planning a trip to Paris, whether only a day trip or your first visit follow @finerthingslifestyle to see more spots Paula visits in Paris, Italy, and beyond.
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